Another great issue in the X-Men: Second Coming crossover was released this week as we reach Chapter ø8 and officially pass the half-way mark. I’m sure I’ll spoil some things going forward.
Bastion and his anti-mutant forces have been working to trap the X-Men by taking out their teleporters and any vehicles they could use to escape Utopia. With their transportation limited, Bastion unleashes a sphere of exotic energy that isolates not only Utopia but the greater San Francisco area from any and all contact with the outside world. Things really pick up when a second sphere appears near the Golden Gate Bridge and a group of Nimrod Sentinels come pouring out from the future.
Throughout the issue, Hope is questioning whether she was ready to return to the present given all the death and destruction around her, and we see Cable try to strengthen her resolve by explaining that the attacks won’t stop if she leaves now. It’s just too late to turn back. Throughout the last few chapters of Second Coming, we’ve been treated to smaller moments of interaction between Cable and Hope and they’re worth mentioning. All of the writers (and artists) have kept these scenes true to the characters and subtle in the course of all the other action. By the end of the issue, Hope has made her choice to stay and fight.
The X-Men’s science team, The X-Club, is again featured (as in Chapter ø7) with a scene designed to set up the X-Men: Second Coming – Revelations: Blind Science one-shot due out next week. I didn’t mention it last time, but I really appreciate the way the ancillary tie-ins have been touched on in the main crossover. There’s no confusion about what order things occur in, or what you’ll be getting if you pick up those books. It’s also great to see Beast back for Second Coming, even though he’ll be gone again for Secret Avengers soon enough.
Speaking of Avengers, I always like when comics surprise me. As San Francisco essentially disappears inside this sphere of energy, The Avengers arrive on the scene to investigate. It’s great to see the larger Marvel Universe affected by the events of Second Coming and the inclusion of the Avengers arriving to investigate with the X-Club trapped outside the sphere was a real treat.
Greg Land’s artwork is good throughout the issue and there were a few really impressive pages. The sphere crushing through bridges and city streets as it expanded looked great as did the double page spread of the Bay area with a giant red globe sitting in it. A few panels stood out with exaggerated smiles and odd body language (and there’s a scene with a character I am completely unable to identify talking to Rockslide), but they were really minor. This is one of Land’s best X-Men issues.
Mike Carey handles all of the characters brilliantly once again and really moves the story along with all of the different pieces in play. It’s what I’ve come to expect from him, but it’s absolutely worth pointing out.
The covers to this week’s installment are decent, but neither really stand out from some the great ones so far in the series. The Adi Granov cover is more to my liking as it perfectly encapsulates the story within. David Finch’s sentinels look great, but it’s not an image that’s going to lead me to track it down.
Overall, this issue is a 4 out of 5 and takes Second Coming to a wild new level as we enter the home stretch.